Populist Politics heads Louisiana Champions Day Classic

Populist Politics and Get in Da House are set to match strides in the 22nd running of Fair Grounds' $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, the main event of eight Thoroughbred stakes races restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds Saturday in the Crescent City.

Populist Politics, who has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite, and Get in Da House, pegged as the 7-2 second choice, last met when second and third, respectively, a neck apart, in Fair Grounds' Costa Rising on Louisiana Derby Day last spring. That afternoon they were narrowly defeated by Star Guitar, who became the richest Louisiana-bred horse of all time with his victory by a head in that race.

Both Populist Politics and Get in Da House are viable candidates to inherit the state-bred showcased role of Star Guitar, who won the last three renewals of the local Classic before being retired over the summer.

Lee's Spirit, who defeated Populist Politics in Delta Downs' Gold Cup on October 27, and Heavy On Themister, third in that same race, are also considered strong threats in this weekend's Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

String King, victor by a nose in last year's $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, has been made the 9-5 morning-line choice to defend his title in Saturday's renewal. Bred and trained by his owner, Charles Craig Smith, String King captured the Mr. Sulu over the course on Thanksgiving's opening day program.

Kissimmee Kyle, who finished second by a nose to String King in last year's Champions Day Turf, returns for another go at the his younger rival.

The other stakes slated for state-bred restricted Louisiana Champions Day are the $100,000 LCD Juvenile for two-year-olds, $100,000 LCD Lassie for two-year-old fillies, $100,000 LCD Ladies for older fillies and mares, $100,000 LCD Ladies Sprint for sprinters in that same division, $100,000 LCD Sprint open to all Louisiana-bred speedsters and $50,000 LCD Handicap Stakes for state-bred three-year-olds and up.

Due to the expanded 13-race program set for Saturday's 22nd renewal of Louisiana Champions Day, a special early post time of 12:15 p.m. (CST) will be in effect. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m., at which time fans will be able to pick up free Star Guitar posters (first 5,000 fans) courtesy of Fair Grounds and free Star Guitar T-shirts (first 750 fans) courtesy of Brittlyn Stable.

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) and Fair Grounds will also salute all branches of the military on Louisiana Champions Day. Representatives from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy will be honored at the LTBA Gala at Fair Grounds on Friday evening and will present all trophies and awards to the winning connections for each of the Louisiana Champions Day races.

At 11:45 a.m., a half-hour before first post, a Marine detail will handle the colors presentation in the winner's circle while Chris Gray performs the National Anthem.

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